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Follow this link for a PDF of the Winter 2019/20 Newsletter.

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Winter 2019/20

Lead Article

Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland

In September, our Disability Research Network (DRN) held a hugely successful event at Queen’s, looking at Opportunities and Challenges for Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland. The event brought together delegates from across various sectors including the Department of Education, Education Authority, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Equality Commission, children’s sector organisations, schools, parents, researchers and academics.

It included a presentation from Professor Sally Tomlinson (left) from Goldsmiths, University of London, on the ‘Ins and Outs of Inclusion’, where she outlined the ways in which children with disabilities have tended to be excluded from education over time as a result of education policies.

Bronagh Byrne (third right, Co-Chair of DRN) highlighted developments in the right to inclusive education under international law and presented findings from an analysis of United Nations responses to policy and practice across 70 global countries.

The event concluded with a panel session facilitated by Professor Vicki Graf (third left) from Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, a leading international figure in inclusive education. The session included expert education input from: Kevin Donaghy (second right), principal of St Ronan’s Primary School, Newry; Michael Allen (right), principal of Lisneal College, Londonderry; and Jonathan Gray (second left), principal of Arvalee School and Resource Centre, Omagh. All three panellists shared their vision for inclusion and examples of best practice.

As a result of the professional exchanges and networks established at the event, and a desire for further debate, a ‘Knowledge Exchange Hub on Inclusive Education’ is being developed, to continue the conversation through a combination of seminars and working group discussions. For more information or to join the Hub, contact Dr Bronagh Byrne, b.byrne@qub.

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Student Profile

Brenda Brady

Brenda Brady is a Level 3 student on our undergraduate BSW degree, a professional qualification in Social Work. She is a peer mentor for other students. 

I am a mother of twins who have just started their GSCE’s. Alongside my own life experience, I have worked in the statutory and voluntary sectors in varying roles which prepared and inspired me to start my Social Work degree in September 2017.

I was a stay-at-home mum for a number of years during which I studied English Literature part-time but I always knew I wanted to be a social worker. I have always cared about helping others, which is something that was instilled in me by my parents, who both worked in the health service for 40 years. 

Queen’s is a fantastic place to study and has opened up so many opportunities for me via the degree programme and through other learning avenues related to the social sciences in exploring social justice, research and simulated learning. The campus is beautiful and there is always a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Since starting the Social Work degree I have been challenged to think more deeply and critically about different aspects of society and how these impact individuals and communities. I have gained knowledge and skills to pursue a professional career in social work. I have met great friends and been taught by academics with a wealth of expertise that I can bring to practice.

Queen’s library facilities are excellent and the librarians are always there to point you in the right direction. The student portal is central to navigating your learning and accessing resources for your subject. It has a plethora of information on the Students’ Union, wellbeing and accessing student support services. The Student Guidance Centre, peer mentoring and student reps are available for additional support and advice. Returning to university was a little overwhelming. However, I have had opportunities to attend a diverse range of activities including courses, open days and workshops. I have been able to listen to international speakers and engage with other students from across the world. I have been on placement, made fantastic friends and find the Queen’s Film Theatre is a brilliant way to take time out from studying. When I graduate I hope to begin professional practice as social worker and to apply for a Master’s in Social Science Research at the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work.

For more information about our degrees see

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International Impact

Children's Rights in New Zealand

Academic Laura Lundy (second left) was in New Zealand in August on a trip organised by Victoria University of Wellington and funded by the Law Foundation for New Zealand. With fellow children’s rights experts Ursula Kilkelly (University College Cork, third left), Bruce Adamson (Scottish Children’s Commissioner) and Justice Clarence Nelson (Supreme Court of Samoa and member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child) she received a warm Pasifika welcome (photo courtesy of Office of the Children’s Commissioner, New Zealand). 

Laura gave a keynote at a Victoria University two-day symposium marking the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). She also presented at a seminar for civil society on Making Child Rights Real in Aotearoa; discussed her child rights approach with staff in the Children’s Commissioner’s office; took part in a roundtable conversation with Pasifika lawyers on child law and culture; and carried out training on ‘The Lundy Model’ of child participation for over 60 staff at Oranga Tamariki (the Department of Children) who use the model in their work.

While in New Zealand, Laura appeared on ‘The Nation’ news show, where she accompanied the country’s Children’s Commissioner, Andrew Becroft (right), in a discussion about ensuring implementation in New Zealand of the UNCRC, for Maori children in particular. The trip concluded with a reception, hosted by the Irish Embassy, to mark the expert input of Professors Lundy and Kilkelly to the events in Wellington. Laura said of her trip: ‘It was a privilege to be invited to New Zealand/Aotearoa, where the Lundy model of participation is used so widely, to share my research and understanding of children’s rights and participation and to learn about their efforts and challenges in delivering children’s rights in a way that is culturally appropriate and acceptable’.

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Learning Together

New undergraduate module at Hydebank Wood College

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) has developed an innovative new undergraduate module called Reintegration After Prison, being offered for the first time this academic year and delivered in HM Hydebank Wood College and Women’s Prison, Belfast. This module, organised by SSESW academics Shadd Maruna and Gillian McNaull, is part of the Learning Together movement led by the University of Cambridge and involving partnerships between prisons and universities across the UK and beyond. Read about this initiative at

At Hydebank Wood, a number of SSESW students are attending classes in the facility alongside a group of students from Hydebank Wood drawn from both the male facility (formerly known as the Young Offenders Institute, housing 18-21 year olds) and Northern Ireland’s only Women’s Prison (Ash House) based at the same site. In recent years, Hydebank Wood has transformed into a learning environment with a variety of vocational and educational courses, and a small number of students already pursue higher education through the Open University. The new Learning Together module will offer students at Hydebank Wood a first taste of a university-level classroom, hopefully encouraging some of them to continue with third level education upon release. For their part, the SSESW students have the opportunity to learn about issues of rehabilitation and reform inside an actual penal facility, studying alongside fellow students with considerable lived experience to share.

The partnership is also a knowledge exchange opportunity for Queen’s University and the Northern Ireland Prison Service, with both institutions benefiting through the collective initiative. For more information contact Professor Shadd Maruna at s.maruna@qub. or tel +44 (0)28 9097 5986

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Young People, Policing and Stop and Search

School of SSESW criminologist John Topping was delighted to join youth delegates in welcoming the new Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Simon Byrne, to our packed conference Patten 20 Years On: Young People, Policing and Stop and Search in September. Its main aim was to examine the current status and evidence around the policing of children and young people by the PSNI, with a specific focus on police stop and search powers. 


The unique conference was supported by our Crime and Social Justice research group and organised in partnership with two leading young people’s rights and advocacy organisations, Include Youth and the Children’s Law Centre, who supported young people in putting their views and questions to conference speakers. 

In addition to input from John Topping, based on his current policing research related to stop and search, the conference had a range of international keynote speakers and Young People, Policing and Stop and Search experts including: Professor Ann Skelton (UN Committee on the Rights of the Child); Debbie Watters (Northern Ireland Policing Board); Katrina Ffrench (StopWatch), Professor Ben Bradford (Global City Policing and the Jill Dando Institute of Security and Crime Science); Tim Mairs (PSNI); Paul Holmes (Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland); and Koulla Yiasouma (Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People).

Conference themes included the PSNI’s use of stop and search powers against young people, current evidence around policing practice, lessons from England around stop and search, and policing innovations to support the mental health needs of those interfacing with police. Also on the programme was a superb performance from C21 Theatre Company encapsulating young people’s experiences of stop and search.

For more information about the research behind the event see

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Training and Resources

Developing Training from a Children's Rights Perspective

Members of our Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR) have been leading a partnership project aimed at enhancing child-centred responses to violence against children. The project is called Participation for Protection (P4P) and includes Katrina Lloyd, Laura Lundy, Siobhan McAlister, Michelle Templeton and Karen Winter. It has produced training resources informed by consultation with over 1300 children across Europe. The resources were co-designed with children and young people in Northern Ireland, from St Ita’s Primary School, Include Youth and Newstart Education Centre. The resources are being rolled out by project partners in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Republic of Ireland and Romania.

The CCR team has been delivering training in Northern Ireland, in collaboration with Include Youth, for a wide range of professionals including youth workers, social workers, educators and those working in the criminal justice system. While many professionals are trained in protecting children and responding to those who experience violence, such training is often informed from an adult perspective.

Participation for Protection (P4P) represents a dedicated effort to inform training from a child’s perspective. The aim is to enhance understanding of what violence means to children, the factors that impact on their ability and willingness to disclose violence, and their views on what constitutes ‘good’/ child-centred support. Some of the findings from the Participation for Protection survey carried out with school children across partner countries, on their understanding of violence and their views on helpful responses, are available at: A training package and free resources informed by the consultations with children can be downloaded from the CCR website at

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two post-primary pupils from different schools wearing different school uniforms standing against a brick wall covered in graffitti

National Impact Research Project

Political Economies and Consequences of School Exclusion

Laura Lundy, Gavin Duffy, Tony Gallagher and Gareth Robinson are to collaborate with academics from Oxford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Reading and London School of Economics on a multidisciplinary research project examining the political economies and consequences of school exclusion across the UK. The Economic and Social Research Council has awarded £2,550,850 for research on the cost of exclusions at individual, institutional and system levels, as well as pupils’ rights, entitlements, protection and wellbeing, and the landscapes of exclusion across the four UK jurisdictions. 

There are vast differences in the rates of permanent school exclusion across the UK with numbers rising rapidly in England but remaining relatively low or even falling in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Latest figures show there were 7,900 permanent exclusions in England compared to fifteen in Northern Ireland and just five in Scotland. 

Preliminary work conducted by the research team illustrated that pressures on schools to perform well in examination league tables can lead to the exclusion of pupils whose predicted attainment would weaken overall school performance. As a consequence, pupils who do not conform to the rules can be excluded to the social margins of schooling. The study is led by Professor Harry Daniels and Associate Professor Ian Thompson (Oxford). Co-Investigator Gavin Duffy (SSESW) said: ‘As a multidisciplinary team we want to understand more about the stark differences in the rates of fixed and permanent exclusions across the four jurisdictions. We are also keen to learn more about those practices in schools which could be described as informal or unregulated as this may give us a more accurate picture of school exclusion.’

The research is organised into three work strands: i. the landscapes of exclusion, which will examine the policy and legal frameworks and the costs of exclusions in each jurisdiction; ii. the experiences of exclusion, focusing on the perspectives of pupils and their families, practitioners, school leadership and other education professionals; and iii. a strand that will integrate these findings to ensure that the learning is continuous as the research develops a coherent multidisciplinary understanding of the political economies of exclusion.

Laura Lundy (SSESW) commented: ‘I am delighted that the rights-based approach to research that we have pioneered in the Centre for Children’s Rights at SSESW will be used across the four jurisdictions involved in the study to ensure that children and young people impacted by school exclusion will be working with us directly to shape the research project and understand the findings.’

These analyses will involve the cross cutting themes of: children’s rights, youth crime, values and the role of religion, geographical context, gender and ethnicity, social class, special needs and disability, and mental health.

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Staff Profile

Jonathan Heaney

Lecturer Dr Jonathan G Heaney is Programme Director for Sociology. He tweets as @jonathangheaney and blogs at

I was delighted to join the Sociology team at Queen’s in 2014, six months after graduating from my PhD at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway. I returned to education as a mature student in 2004, completing a BA in Sociology, Politics and Economics at NUI Galway in 2007.

My PhD project was funded by an Irish Research Council ‘Government of Ireland Scholarship’ Scheme and studied emotions and social change in late modernity in general, and the Republic of Ireland in particular.

My primary research interests are interdisciplinary and lie in social, sociological and political theory, at the intersections of Sociology and Politics. I am especially interested in the relationship and dynamics of emotions and power, and how they form and change our social lives. My publications explore these topics and the relationship between emotions, nationalism and national identity. More recent interests concern the interplay of emotion and power in contemporary party politics. I aim to combine insights from Political Sociology and the Sociology of Emotions to contribute to a new emerging sub-field - the Political Sociology of Emotions – to examine the increasing importance, visibility and deployment of emotions by politicians. We appear to be living in an age of emotional politics and my work aims to help us better understand it.

I am passionate about teaching and these ideas and themes also feature in my classes. In addition to teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in social theory, I am preparing a new module on the Political Sociology of Emotions that explores the role of emotion and power in relation to the rise of populism, Trump, Brexit, as well as in situations of war, conflict and post-conflict. In recent years, I have coordinated the European Sociological Association’s Research Network on Emotions and organized conferences (in Edinburgh, Manchester, Stockholm, Athens and elsewhere) featuring leading emotion scholars from around the globe.

As a relatively new, and not exactly ‘young’, father of a wonderful daughter, Hazel, who is three and a half, I don’t have much time for hobbies. I enjoy film and organize the Sociological Cinema Series at the Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast. Staff, students and the general public watch a film, after which academics and the audience draw out and discuss the various Sociological themes within the movie. I also like to read, especially science/speculative fiction, and poetry.

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International Impact

Developing the Social Work Curriculum in the USA

A US-UK Fulbright Scholarship saw School of SSESW academic Joe Duffy spend last academic year in the USA, including teaching at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work where he collaborated with Dr Carol Tosone (NYU) and seven survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre to facilitate Social Work students’ conversations with the survivors about the impact that trauma had on their lives.

He also spent time at Belmont University (Nashville), working with community organisations supporting people affected by poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse and addictions. Clients from these groups were directly involved, with Joe, in sharing their experiences with third year Belmont Social Work students as part of their preparations for field practice. 

Joe’s unique teaching sessions introduced this service user involvement to the Social Work curriculum in the USA to help Social Work students understand trauma and effective behaviours when helping clients. He drew on his many years of integrating people with lived experience in Northern Ireland into social work classrooms to cultivate a culture of trust and partnership in the classes, giving clients and survivors control of the content by agreeing questions in advance.

In September, Joe held a research launch in New York where he presented results from his evaluation on the impact of his teaching approach on the students’ knowledge development. Findings showed that hearing his facilitated conversations with people with lived experience of trauma had a marked impact on the students’ understanding of it. They felt that Joe’s sessions taught them: careful, respectful listening; the importance of person-centredness, a non-judgmental approach and good communication skills; and how best to process emotions when hearing trauma narratives. Dr Tosone continues to use Joe Duffy’s model of incorporating input from 9/11 survivors in her module on the Treatment of Trauma.

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Two primary school aged boys playing with toy cars.

Research Impact

Centre for Behaviour Analysis - update

  • In collaboration with Ulster University, Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists (PEAT) and Belfast City Airport, Centre colleagues enabled families living with a diagnosis of autism to prepare for their holidays by visiting the airport in June and experiencing the steps involved in boarding a plane. Video models, which are an evidencebased area of research for teaching new skills such as self-management and social skills, were devised by the Centre and can be accessed at
  • Catherine Storey was elected Secretary of the European Association of Behaviour Analysis, an international organisation that promotes Behaviour Analysis and provides an international forum for matters relevant to behaviour analysis.
  • Katerina Dounavi and PhD students Emma Craig and Jenny Ferguson have written a chapter in the Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders (Ed. Prof Volkmar, Yale University School of Medicine), describing current knowledge on the use of telehealth, the distribution of health-related services and training via technology, for the delivery of behaviour analytic interventions such as training carers and parents to teach independence skills to children and young people with an ASD. 
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Lanyon Building

Research Impact

Disability Research Network - update

  • Berni Kelly and colleagues have been awarded funding from the Global Challenges Research Fund to undertake a feasibility study, Building Positive Futures: A CrossCountry Pilot Study on Youth Transitions from Out-of-Home Care in Africa, working with partners in Uganda, Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The project will develop the methodology of the Growth beyond the Town care-leaving study in South Africa to incorporate a peer research approach and input from care leavers (across experiences of disability, gender and culture) and to test its feasibility for a cross-country study on care leaving in Africa. 
  • The DRN was delighted to welcome Dr Sonali Shah (University of Birmingham) in September to present on her current research on the healthcare needs of girls and women with cerebral palsy.

  • DRN has received funding from the Department for the Economy Global Challenges Research Fund to examine the physical and mental health needs of people with disabilities in Cambodia. Alan Maddock is the Principal Investigator and the CoInvestigators are Paul Best, Bronagh Byrne, Anne Campbell, Gavin Davidson, Berni Kelly, Lorna Montgomery and Ciaran Mullholland. The project is a partnership with the voluntary sector organisation Exceed.
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two children using laptops

Research Impact

Centre for Children's Rights - update

  • Laura Lundy, Siobhan McAlister and Michelle Templeton led a consultation earlier this year with 274 children deprived of their liberty in 22 countries. The consultation, a collaboration with Terres des Hommes and Professor Ursula Kilkelly and Dr Louise Forde from University College Cork, was part of the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. It employed the Centre’s unique child rights-based research methodology, ensuring that the views of children in a range of settings (including immigration, youth justice and other institutions) and global contexts were integral to the study and its recommendations to the world’s governments. 
  • Laura Lundy was at the University of Ghana in Accra in June as part of a British Academy grant led by Dr Afua Twun-Danso Imoh (University of Sheffield). The project enables early career researchers in childhood studies in West Africa to be mentored by editors of leading childhood journals. Laura, joint Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Children’s Rights, mentors two early career scholars from Nigeria, supporting them to get their work published in international journals.
  • While in Accra, Laura visited the Ghana headquarters of World Vision to meet two young people from its Young Leaders programme. Laura Lundy and Michelle Templeton are conducting a research project with World Vision, looking at the experience of children in the programme who participated in international events in New York, Brussels and Geneva. World Vision have adopted Laura’s model of participation (the Lundy Model) as core to their global strategy on child participation and gender equality.
  • Judith Thompson, Northern Ireland Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, attended a celebration at Queen’s in June to thank young people involved in advisory groups on a project examining the transgenerational impacts of the Northern Ireland conflict on young people.
  • The Centre hosted seminars with Dr Jenna Gillet-Swan (Queensland University of Technology) in September and Dr Noam Peleg (University of New South Wales, Sydney) in October. Jenna presented her work on student voice while Noam presented his work on the child’s right to development. The Centre is hosting a visiting researcher from the University of Murcia, Spain. Carmen Maria Carabello is a doctoral student focusing on inclusive education. 
  • In September, Laura gave a keynote at the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children Annual Conference. Hosted in Belfast by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, the conference addressed ‘Children’s rights in the digital environment’. Laura Lundy, Bronagh Byrne and young advisors with disabilities hosted a session with their advisory group of children with disabilities who work on their Council of Europe study on the digital rights of children with disabilities.
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Nicola Booth presenting in Australia

Lead Article

Autism and Puberty: Strategies to Utilise for Teaching

In addition to her keynote on Beyond childhood: preparing for adulthood, with an emphasis on individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), at the ABA Today 2019 international conference (Applied Behaviour Analysis) in Melbourne in July, School of SSESW academic Nichola Booth delivered a three-hour masterclass for delegates at the conference. Entitled ‘Puberty, anxiety and autism: it will happen! Understanding the impact on your teen and practical strategies to help’, the workshop centred on Nichola’s work and research within our Centre for Behaviour Analysis. 

The masterclass was attended by an international audience of around 60 delegates from a variety of professional backgrounds and disciplines including teaching, medicine and social work. Also in the audience were Applied Behaviour Analysis practitioners, students of Psychology and Special Education from Monash University, Melbourne, and parents and carers of individuals on the autism spectrum.

Nichola’s masterclass provided attendees with effective solutions for behavioural difficulties that may arise during puberty for individuals with autism. All strategies and interventions were based on key principles and teaching technologies derived from the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis. The masterclass enabled attendees to effectively teach key life skills that could help make the transition to puberty easier for individuals in hospitals, residential settings, schools and the home.

Puberty for individuals with an ASD is a topic which is often overlooked and underresearched. By offering solutions from practice in the applied sector, Nichola was able to use science and experiences to highlight to professionals and other delegates that puberty preparation for individuals with an ASD is a topic which requires explicit and continuous teaching.

For more information contact Dr Nichola Booth at or tel +44 (0)28 9097 3264

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PGCE students at NICILT


Promoting Language Learning in Northern Ireland

Our Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) provides an important service for schools and for staff and students on our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). It is funded by the Department of Education to promote and support language teaching and learning. 

NICILT raises awareness of European Day of Languages (EDL), celebrated on 26 September, and this year NICILT launched a new EDL-themed poetry competition for Year 9 pupils.

It encouraged pupils to develop their Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities, dictionary and language skills and to further understand the purpose of EDL. NICILT also visited All Saints College, Belfast, to promote EDL and provide a Languages for Employability workshop for 160 Year 10 pupils. 

In October, NICILT launched its first four-day mini film festival for Year 10 pupils of French and Spanish. These events, held at Queen’s Film Theatre, attracted around 800 pupils to Queen’s and included guided campus tours by our PGCE students. Schools were also provided with tailored teaching materials reflecting the statutory requirements in modern languages in the curriculum.

NICILT is running a new Ambassadors scheme in Northern Ireland in collaboration with the School of Arts, English and Languages at Queen’s. The scheme, set up by the Open World Research Initiative and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, links post-primary pupils and university students to promote languages and motivate pupils to opt into languages at A Level. The 175 pupils taking part in the Ambassadors scheme attended an immersion day at Queen’s in October, which included subjectspecific sessions and guided tours of the University with undergraduate ambassadors and our PGCE modern language students (pictured at our resource centre).

For more information visit or the NICILT Facebook page.

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Staff Profile

Danielle Turney

Professor Danielle Turney is our Social Work Subject Lead. She joined the School of SSESW in August 2018.

Having lived and worked in England all my life, I have had a fascinating year getting to know Belfast and learning about the similarities and differences between social work in England and Northern Ireland. While studying philosophy and politics at Manchester University I got involved in different community/welfare-related activities. I had not initially thought about a career in social work, but by the end of my degree it seemed like the ‘next step’.

Embarking on a Masters in Social Work programme at Sussex University was the start of a significant learning process (still under way!) that introduced me to the complexity, challenges and opportunities that social work presents. 

I have been involved in social work one way or another ever since – first as a local authority social worker in South London, later as a PhD student and then as a social work educator and researcher. Clearly something hooked me in and has continued to demand my interest and attention! Supporting the learning of social workers – whether working with people at the start of their professional careers, or with established practitioners who want to develop and extend their knowledge and skills – has been a key part of my academic life, and I taught on and/or managed programmes of qualifying and post-qualifying education at Goldsmiths London University, the Open University, and the University of Bristol before my move to Queen’s.

As a researcher, my interests focus mainly on three broad areas: child welfare and protection, in particular child neglect; relationship-based practice; and social work assessment, decision-making and professional judgement. From my PhD research exploring anti-racist practice in social work onwards, my work has been underpinned by my interest in theory building. Social work involves highly complex activities and relationships, and decisionmaking in conditions of uncertainty. Theory does not furnish ready answers, but can sharpen understanding of the hard questions posed by social work practice, deepen appreciation of why they are hard, and aid reflection on how to work through to answers expressed through practice.

My core concern is to make theory relevant to specific, recurrent questions about real world social work – for example, drawing on care ethics to explore understandings of child neglect, and using Recognition Theory to help understand the dynamics of practice with ‘involuntary’ clients of social services. I look forward to developing my work in the context of the concerns of everyday practice here in Northern Ireland.

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Low shot of lanyon building and war memorial with bright blue sky

Contested Societies

Higher Education and Social Justice

As part of our research focus on Contested Societies, academic Dina Belluigi (right) hosted a seminar in September at Queen’s University entitled ‘At the Margins of the University: Scholarship and practice of higher education transformation and disruption in contexts of post conflict, inequality and oppression’.

Jenny Boźena du Preez (Nelson Mandela University, third right), Dina Belluigi and Tony Gallagher (SSESW, back row, second left) reflected on the Emancipatory Imaginations: Advancing Critical University Studies Winter School held in South Africa in August, involving invited scholars and practitioners from Ghana, India, Kenya, Ireland, South Africa, the UK, Cyprus, Germany and Canada. A collaboration between Dina Belluigi and Andre Keet (Nelson Mandela University), the Winter School questioned where social justice concerns sit within transformations of higher education and related scholarship.

Naomi Lumutenga (HERS-EA, second right) discussed the educational non-profit organization Higher Education Resource Services Eastern Africa, which advances women’s leadership in higher education in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The woman-centred curriculum addresses personal and institutional barriers, positioning female academics to undertake challenge-based research which informs policy and grassroots capacity development.

Highlighting the impact of the Syrian crisis on academics with little protection when in exile, Tom Parkinson (University of Kent, back row, third left) and Dina Belluigi (SSESW) reflected on roundtables held in partnership with The Council for At Risk Academics in June in Istanbul. Academics from international communities discussed the challenges of sustaining their academic work and authority under conditions of crisis, exile, political oppression and post-conflict legacies in locations such as Belarus, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kenya, Northern Ireland, Palestine, Serbia and South Africa.

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Mandi MacDonald and John Pinkerton with research partners in South Africa

Supporting International Development

Challenging Inequality in South Africa through Mentoring

A team of social work academics and researchers, led by School of SSESW academic Mandi MacDonald (fourth right), is collaborating with the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town to evaluate the contribution of formal youth mentoring in promoting the wellbeing of under-served youth in South Africa.

They are partnering with SAYes, a Cape Town based NGO working with children’s homes to offer transition mentoring to young people preparing to leave care.

South Africa remains one of the most unequal societies in the world, with significant disparities in opportunity and income, particularly for youth, over half of whom live in poverty. Inequality and social exclusion are sharply focused in the lives of young people living in care and care leavers. 

This pilot project, funded by the Department for the Economy Global Challenges Research Fund, will evaluate the SAYes programme as a case study to explore whether formal mentoring offers an effective, scalable contribution to South Africa’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The SSESW research team, including Berni Kelly, John Pinkerton and Montse Fargas, had a busy and productive visit to Cape Town in September. Working with Professor Shanaaz Mathews and Jenna-Lee Marco from the Children’s Institute, they interviewed 37 care experienced young people, 9 mentors and 8 carers. They heard how mentors offer muchvalued social support and help with making informed life choices. The team will return to South Africa in February 2020 to discuss the findings with young people, practitioners, academics and policy makers. It is hoped that these first-hand accounts will lay a foundation for developing a larger study, with other African and international partners, into the feasibility of formal mentoring as a means of challenging inequality for young people in care and leaving care.

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John Topping meeting with academics from Sao Paulo

International Collaborative Research

Criminology Links with Sao Paulo, Brazil

As part of a British Academy grant, SSESW Criminologist John Topping welcomed to Queen’s University in October the research partners from the Federal University of Sao Paulo (FUSP), Brazil. The project is entitled Policing Protests and the Quality of Democracy in Brazil and Northern Ireland. It involves research in both countries examining the dynamics and parameters of protests, their meaning and how they are Criminology Links with Sao Paulo, Brazil policed. It includes both empirical research and knowledge exchange between Queen’s and the FUSP. While in Belfast, the University of Sao Paulo partners met with Harry Maguire (second left), Director of Community Restorative Justice Ireland, and spent time with policing experts discussing the legal and policy framework related to parades and protests in Northern Ireland.

Angela Rogan - UA commendation

Student Success

Global Undergraduate Awards Commendation

For the third year in a row, an SSESW undergraduate student has been recognised as a Highly Commended entrant in the Sociology & Social Policy category of the Global Undergraduate Awards (UA), the world’s largest academic awards programme identifying leading creative thinkers and problem-solvers through their undergraduate coursework. Written for his Social Policy module on gerontology, Freddie Finlay’s paper, Demography is not Destiny was assessed by an international panel of expert judges from world leading academic institutions.

UA provides top performing students with support and opportunities to raise their profiles at a summit in Dublin where they can network with world-renowned speakers, academics and potential employers and attend workshops designed to help them share research and begin their path after undergraduate study.

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Teaching Excellence

Award Winning PGCE Maths Teaching

Academic Ian Cantley picked up the Most Inspirational Teaching Award at this year’s Queen’s University Students’ Union Education Awards. Ian teaches on our PGCE Mathematics course and was overwhelmed to hear that every one of his PGCE students nominated him for the award. Some of them attended the awards ceremony to make the presentation to him and represent the PGCE Mathematics group, whose nominations included the comments:

Ian genuinely cares about each and every one of us, which comes across in his teaching, feedback and encouragement. He has challenged us immensely throughout, and prepared us all for going out into our placement schools.’ 

Ian not only has a passion for PGCE and his teaching, but a passion for all young people in Northern Ireland to receive an outstanding education.

Ian commented: ‘It is an immense privilege, and responsibility, to teach and mentor future teachers on the PGCE Mathematics programme. I aim to instil a passion for mathematics education in my students since I consider this to be an essential attribute of any aspiring teacher of mathematics.’

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Getting our Voices Heard project SSESW

Making a Social Difference

Getting Our Voices Heard

A team from the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) is exploring how people with learning disabilities, and their organisations, exert influence on the policy and practice of adult safeguarding. The SSESW team consists of Lorna Montgomery, Berni Kelly and Gavin Davidson and includes research assistant Lisamarie Wood, a Research Officer from Praxis Care.

The Getting Our Voices Heard project is investigating what works in different contexts across all four UK nations, identifying examples of how people with learning disabilities and Disabled Persons’ Organisations influence adult safeguarding policy and practice. The project seeks to better enable disabled individuals to shape the policies which affect their lives in order to enhance their choices, control, dignity and freedom. 

The research team recruited and trained six people with learning disabilities as peer researchers, to assist with each stage of the project including design, data collection, analysis, report writing and action plan. The project concludes in March 2020 with a UK-wide Implementation Plan highlighting recommendations on effective approaches to ensuring that people with learning disabilities can influence adult safeguarding policy and legislation at national and organisational levels.

Lisamarie Wood (back row, left) completed our BA in Sociology and MRes in Social Science Research, learning in depth about different ways to research within society based on worldviews and how research can have real and lasting impact in society. She is a Visiting Scholar at Queen’s University while she collaborates on Getting Our Voices Heard. Lisamarie commented: ‘I’ve had an avid interest in Sociology since being introduced to it at school, fascinated by the different approaches used by sociologists throughout history to study and understand society. I was drawn to Sociology because of its power to understand and address inequalities in society and to influence social change.’

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pupils from different schools

Informing Educational Development

Mainstreaming Shared Education

Earlier this year, School of SSESW colleagues Joanne Hughes and Rebecca Loader, from our Centre for Shared Education (CSE), were appointed to undertake research into ‘mainstreaming’ shared education in Northern Ireland schools. The work was commissioned by the Social Change Initiative (SCI), a Belfast-based international charity focussing on inclusive and peaceful societies, and the Shared Education Learning Forum (SELF), an influential practitioner-led network formed by teachers and principals involved in the shared education initiative in Northern Ireland. 

The mainstreaming process involves further embedding existing cross-sectoral shared education into education policy in the region. For the ‘mainstreaming’ research, which is due for publication in late 2019, Joanne and Rebecca conducted two studies, one with policymakers, education officers and sectoral leaders in Northern Ireland, and one with practitioners from 16 school partnerships across the region. The research explored understandings of shared education and its aims, developments in shared practice, and enablers and barriers to mainstreaming the model in Northern Ireland.

This CSE research is intended to inform developments in the mainstreaming of shared education policy level, and will be disseminated to key stakeholders through the Social Change Initiative and the Shared Education Learning Forum. To this end, Joanne and Rebecca presented initial findings at SELF seminars in May this year and at the annual SELF conference in Templepatrick in September. Joanne, Rebecca and report co-author Professor Rhiannon Turner (School of Psychology at Queen’s University) will present their full findings at a seminar to be hosted by the Social Change Initiative later this year. Read more about the Centre for Shared Education at

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Summer 2019

Lundy Model

Lead Article

The Lundy Model of Child Participation

Laura Lundy, Co-Director of our Centre for Children’s Rights (CCR), works to ensure that children are involved in decisionmaking in a range of international arena, in particular the work of the United Nations, through what has become known as the ‘Lundy model’ of child participation.

The model was developed in the wake of a study for the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People and has been used by governments and organisations at national and international level, including the European Commission (EC), UNICEF, World Health Organisation and World Vision, to inform their approach to children’s participation in policy and practice.

The model’s four-part framework (space-voice-audience-influence) has been applied in scores of research projects across the world and has generated a sea-change in global understanding of child rights-based participation for policy and practice. It has been adopted by the Irish government in the first ever European national strategy on child participation and is used widely by policymakers and practitioners throughout Ireland, including the Dept. of Children and Youth Affairs, TUSLA, the Education Inspectorate, Oberstown Detention Centre and YMCA Ireland.

Laura trained and advised the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) on conducting its own child participation and the CCR undertook ground-breaking input into how the UNCRC produces advice for governments. Laura was an invited speaker at the EC’s child forum, a gathering of politicians, policy-makers and practitioners, where she presented on children’s participation for democratic decisionmaking and made a case for Votes at 16, children’s councils with dedicated budgets in every city and greater representation of children in conferences about childhood. Laura Lundy and Bronagh Byrne provided advice and training on child participation for the Children’s Commissioner in Jersey. Laura and Michelle Templeton are working with BBC Children in Need to develop an approach to participation in their new national programme on children’s mental well-being - A Million and Me.

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photograph of Angela Rogan

Student Profile

Angela Rogan

Tell us a little about yourself.
As a single mother of five, I work part-time as a Business Development Manager for a local company and study the BA Criminology and Sociology fulltime at Queen’s University.  On arriving at Queen's I quickly developed a passion for academia and made many friends among staff and students.

Why choose this course and Queen’s? 
Coming from a working class background, I was aware of many social injustices and wanted to move into a career track that would let me contribute to tackling them. While completing the Access Foundation Course, I discovered Queen’s offered a Joint Honours Degree in Criminology and Sociology with fascinating content relevant for my career path. My mother was a Queen’s Sociology graduate and I’m proud to follow in her footsteps. I often sit in the beautiful grounds soaking up the atmosphere, feeling deeply privileged to study at such a prestigious institution.

What is your experience of the course? 
I’ve gained new perspectives on many issues relevant to modern society. The Criminology and Sociology programme has a diverse range of topics. The interactive course structure is stimulating and challenging and smoothly facilitates engagement with the course content on numerous levels.

What’s your experience of the facilities and support?
The support goes well beyond my expectations. I benefit immensely from expert knowledge and guidance, in both my academic pursuits and my School Representative role. The commitment of staff to my academic development has been inspirational and has cultivated my desire to emulate similar qualities. I really enjoy the learning environment and have adopted the University’s core values of excellence and integrity in my approach to my studies. The facilities and resources are exceptional and provide everything I need to succeed. My favourite place on campus is the library.

How do you find the student experience?
There are so many activities taking place across campus and in the School. I really enjoyed the Inspiring Leaders programme, the Q-Step research work placement, the Sociological Cinema and the numerous seminars, conferences and workshops. There is a lot of scope for interaction and socialising with students and staff.

What’s next for you?
I feel a real sense of belonging at Queen’s so I have applied for the Master’s in Social Science Research Methods and intend to complete PhD and postdoctoral qualifications. I hope to pursue a career in academia and research, focusing on social injustices.

For more information about our degrees see

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Campbell-What Works team

Research Impact

What Works Summit – Early Years

Campbell Centre UK & Ireland is hosted by the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) under our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation (CESI). It promotes positive social and economic change through the production and use of systematic reviews and other evidence synthesis for evidence-based policy and practice.

In February this year, the Campbell Centre UK & Ireland hosted the What Works Summit – Early Years at Queen’s University in partnership with Wales Centre for Public Policy (WCPP) and the Alliance for Useful Evidence. The event brought together researchers, policy-makers and practitioners to meet four of the ten UK What Works Centres: WCPP, Early Intervention Foundation, Education Endowment Fund and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

February’s event was part of a series of summits in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales exploring how What Works Centres create, share and use high quality evidence to inform decision-making in policy and practice. Paul Connolly (CESI) welcomed more than 80 local stakeholders who came along to engage with the What Works Centres, to share knowledge and help shape the early years research agenda. Local practitioners, such as Sure Start manager Seána Talbot, discussed the successful implementation of a breastfeeding project which benefitted from evaluation advice from CESI colleague Jennifer Hanratty (front row, second right).

What Works summits are part of the Campbell Centre’s work to build strong relationships with research institutions and knowledge brokers across the UK and Ireland. The discussions and connections which surfaced during the day feature in our blog at The next What Works summit at Queen’s (14 May) is on youth mental health. The event is open to practitioners, teachers and policymakers with an interest in youth mental health. For more information see the CESI website at

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Lanyon Building

Supporting International Development

Social Work Education Development in Vietnam

School of SSESW academic Karen Winter delivered the keynote speech at the third anniversary of Vietnam Social Work Day, held in Thu Dau Mot University (TDMU), Vietnam, on 25 March.

Over subsequent days, she delivered lectures, workshops and training events for social work academics and undergraduate and postgraduate students at TDMU focussing on: her work with social work, education and sociology academics from Edinburgh, Sussex, Cardiff and Oxford; with European academic partners from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Romania and Republic of Ireland; and internationally with UNICEF and Ain Shams University, Egypt.

Against a rapidly changing social and economic context, in 2010 the Vietnamese government approved that social work could be officially classified as a profession, raising the profile of its training, job opportunities and career pathways. TDMU has offered a four year degree in social work training since 2011. Keen to build capacity in teaching, training and research, and to strengthen international links, TDMU invited Karen to share insights gained through collaboration with NGOs including Voice of Young People in Care, Barnardo’s, Irish Foster Carer Association, Fostering Network Northern Ireland, statutory organisations including English and Welsh Local Authorities, the Northern Ireland Guardian ad Litem Agency and Health and Social Care Trusts and international academic institutions from 33 countries represented in the European Social Work Research Association.

Karen delivered talks on social work training, the legalities of child protection, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in research and practice, and innovation and ethical issues in research with young children. Dr Le Thi Hoang Lieu, Director of Social Work at TDMU, said: ‘Karen’s expertise has been invaluable in thinking about how we train, research and publish in social work. We look forward to developing our relationship with Karen and with Queen’s University through mutually beneficial research and teaching opportunities’.

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Low shot of lanyon building and war memorial with bright blue sky

Student Innovation

Social Policy Students at the Duncairn

School of SSESW colleagues Amanda Slevin and Veronique Altglas, with John Barry (School of HAPP), worked with the Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts in Belfast on a special sustainability and climate change event as part of the Duncairn’s ‘Fifty’ series. Featuring music and arts, the Fifty event on 12 April involved creative exploration of some of the biggest socio-ecological challenges facing society.

First year Social Policy and Social Work students performed ‘Anna’s Journey’, a new drama written by students Alexandra Popoff, Rosie Graves, Colleen Petticrew and Roxanne Elliot with their lecturer Amanda Slevin, based on learning about climate change, sustainability and environment in first year Social Policy modules.

In studying Social Policy, students tackle major policy problems by applying core concepts from social science to intractable social problems such as gender inequality, eldercare, children’s rights and climate change. They gain knowledge and understanding of contemporary government policies, their impacts and how to achieve Social Policy Students at the Duncairn improvements. In the case of climate change, students connect national policies and international agreements with local impacts and practical solutions, making the ‘global local’. The diversity of interests, skills and topics covered in Social Policy means that our students enter a wide range of careers on graduation. These include the public sector (e.g. social services, education, criminal justice, social work), private sector (e.g. market research, policy analysis, human resources), the community and voluntary sector (e.g. policy analyst, researcher, youth support worker, charity fundraiser).

Our Social Policy students’ work with organisations like the Duncairn Arts Centre provides opportunities for active engagement with key social issues and experience of settings where social policy is the focus for making a social difference.

For more information contact Dr Amanda Slevin at or tel +44 (0)28 9097 3160

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Silhouette of the lanyon tower with dark sky


Our Life and Times through the Archives

ARK is Northern Ireland’s social policy hub, jointly hosted by the School of SSESW and Ulster University. It provides an important record of public opinion through, for example, the Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey, an annual attitudes survey recording public opinion about key social and political issues.

‘Our Life and Times through the Archives’ is an exciting and innovative collaboration bringing together ARK’s survey archive and the BBC Rewind archive, a database of digitised BBC content. The project explored attitudes over 30 years to samesex relationships and same-sex marriage.

Footage from TV programmes was used to bring the survey data to life and to illustrate the shift towards more liberal attitudes, as observed in the survey data. As well as identifying and analysing relevant survey statistics, Paula Devine and Gemma Carney provided a social science perspective exploring the link between public attitudes and the contemporary social and political context. The Queering the Family multimedia storyline is available on the BBC website at

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international students


International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (IPGCE)

Our new International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (IPGCE) programme is a professional preparation course that aims to enable students to develop the understanding, abilities and competencies needed to teach in schools around the world and in a range of school types. It is delivered entirely online and encompasses school experience and online teaching and learning.

The IPGCE helps students develop a sound knowledge and understanding of current thinking in their chosen specialist area and ensures that international initial teacher education is rooted in theory, research and practice. Students will demonstrate both their ability in the classroom and their ability to critically reflect on their own classroom practice and current theories around teaching and learning. The programme has a clear emphasis on acquiring key teaching competences and students are expected to develop the competences both during their online engagement and while on school experience. In addition, there is a series of general lectures, designed to introduce students to a wide range of educational theory and policy matters, and a variety of online tutorials, workshops, online and schoolbased activities to ensure they have a broad understanding of educational issues and practices.

The professional aspects of this online course are designed to enable students to develop a variety of teaching, communication and organisational skills within a broad set of values which focus on the importance of good educational principles and practice. The academic aspects provide the intellectual framework which enables students to analyse, among other things, the role of education, the nature of learning, the methods of teaching and the interrelationships between pupils and teachers and schools and society.

More information is available at

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Q-Step logo with panel

Summer School

Social Sciences Summer School

School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) colleagues are running this year’s Summer School on 3-5 July at Queen’s University, for Year 12 and Year 13 students who are interested in studying social sciences at university. The theme for the summer school is Visualising the Social World. By learning how to present stories with graphical representations of data and how to distinguish between good and bad examples of data visualisations, students can gain social data skills and experience sought by employers in areas such as social research, marketing, financial services and economic and social policy in order to help analyse and solve real world problems.

Pupils can learn more about important and interesting topics at the summer school such as families, religion, crime and deviance, social inequality, ethnic diversity and politics. They will also have the chance to chat to staff and current students and find out about study options with us in SSESW. The summer school is funded by the Queen’s University Q-Step Centre, which is hosted in SSESW and is part of a UK-wide programme to increase the quantitative skills of social science students. Lunch and refreshments will be provided each day and a number of travel bursaries are available (terms and conditions apply).

Students at last year’s summer school at Queen’s University liked:
‘The range of different topics covered and the ability to choose a research question from a large range so it could be something you were genuinely interested in.’
‘The new skills that we have gained on the programme.’
‘It gave a good insight into what’s taught in the social science related courses.’

Parents, teachers and students can see more information about the Social Sciences Summer School on our website at

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Prof Gavin Davidson

Staff Profile

Professor Gavin Davidson

Professor Gavin Davidson was appointed in May 2018 as our first Praxis Chair of Social Care, a research collaboration between Queen’s University Belfast and Praxis Care, a major provider of services for adults and children with a learning disability, mental ill health, acquired brain injury and autism. The Chair is a new and innovative post supporting Praxis Care to develop services, inform policy and set standards for practice. It focuses primarily on the effectiveness of services and developing the Praxis Model of Care to improve the outcomes and experiences of service users.

My main interests are in mental health and social justice, partly due to some of my family having had mental health problems. This interest was further developed through working in a night shelter in London in the late 1980s, when a lot of people were being discharged from long-stay hospitals. I studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics to try to better understand how systems work and how they might be changed. Social work seemed to provide the opportunity to continue examining mental health and social justice so I completed my training as a social worker in Liverpool in 1995. Coincidentally, my first post-qualifying post was as a support worker for Praxis.

I then worked in the Northern Health and Social Care Trust for 12 years, as a Community Mental Health Team social worker, out of hours Approved Social Worker, project manager and team leader. My work tended to focus on people regarded as presenting a relatively high level of risk but who were reluctant to engage with services. I was able to explore this aspect of mental health services further through a Research and Development Division Doctoral Fellowship. I enjoyed the experience of research and it seemed to open up opportunities to try to inform the development of policy and practice. I moved to Queen’s in 2008 and my research interests remain in the area of mental health, specifically: the effectiveness of services; inequalities; trauma; coercion; and mental health/mental capacity legislation.

My main teaching role is to help coordinate the Approved Social Work Programme, which focuses on mental health law and is a partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. I was one of the social work representatives involved in developing the Mental Capacity Act (Northern Ireland) 2016 and I’m keen to contribute to research on how it will be implemented. I’m the Strand Lead for What Works for Communities in our Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation which is enabling positive connections across the University and with other sectors. I’m also excited about this collaboration with Praxis Care, as it is an organisation that is actively encouraging and open to research.

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hand stop image

Advancement of Gender Equality

Athena SWAN at SSESW

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) is proud to hold a bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to the advancement of gender equality for our staff and students. The team working on our Action Plan comprises students and staff. It targets School culture and practices, career development and progression, academic progression for students and work/life balance. In addition to adapting School policies to support this work, we periodically survey our staff and students on workplace culture, ensuring that gender equality awareness is evident in our approach to education and research.

SSESW marked International Women’s Day in March with an exhibition, in collaboration with the School of Nursing and Midwifery, showcasing research on gender inequalities. It featured work by Sirin Sung (SSESW) on women’s experiences with balancing paid work and family responsibilities in Northern Ireland, South Korea, China and the USA. Sirin worked with the Northern Ireland Black and Minority Ethnic Women’s Network and the Northern Ireland Council for Racial Equality in carrying out this research. It has received support from Queen’s and the Leverhulme Trust and led to Sirin’s appointment as a visiting scholar at Sun-Yat Sen University in Guangzhou, China.

The School also screened four short films on gender inequality in India to mark International Women’s Day, followed by a discussion led by Social Policy research student Aishwarya Patil, Sirin Sung (SSESW) and Sian Barber (Film Studies). We hosted Sisters Inside: Why is women’s imprisonment a feminist issue? in collaboration with the QUB Gender Network. Supported by Reclaim the Agenda and featuring talks by Gillian McNaull (SSESW) and Phil Scraton (Law), the event focused on social injustice issues arising from women’s imprisonment. Speakers argued that women’s imprisonment is often a disproportionate and inappropriate response to problems generated by poverty, racism and gender-based violence.

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Boy using a magnifying glass to look at a leaf

Research Impact

Centre for Behaviour Analysis - update

  • Catherine Storey was invited to join the Sharland Foundation Developmental Disabilities ABA Research and Impact Network. It focusses on intellectual disabilities and using ABA-based methods to support individuals’ skills development and quality of life and to reduce the impact of problem behaviours forming barriers to learning or community participation. With fellow Foundation members, Catherine is running two literacy projects with Mencap NI and The Fostering Network. 
  • Weight management is a global priority due to its potential to prevent chronic illness such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Katerina Dounavi completed a systematic review of studies for the worldleading American Journal of Preventive Medicine, examining the efficacy of mobile health technology as a facilitator of behaviour change, aiming to inform treatment and policy.

  • People with autism are much more likely to die from drowning than the general population. A systematic review of effective behavioural interventions for water safety and swim skills was conducted by PhD candidate Catriona (Tia) Martin and supervisor Karola Dillenburger for Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. findings show that behaviourally based interventions can improve water safety and swim skills in children with autism.

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two children using laptops

Research Impact

Centre for Children's Rights - update

  • A current Centre project for the Council of Europe is looking at the rights and experiences of children with disabilities in the digital environment. Colleagues have been working with children from Mencap NI, Action for Deaf Youth, Angel Eyes and Fleming Fulton school in Belfast as advisers.
  • In February, Laura Lundy visited Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, where she gave a keynote talk addressing a controversial issue - whether the rights of the many outweigh the rights of the few when a child with disabilities is disruptive in a classroom.

  • In March, Bronagh Byrne visited the University of Sydney where she led a Masterclass for PhD students on education and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and led a workshop on comparative approaches to disability rights. She also presented at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, unpacking the meaning of inclusive education.

  • Doctoral student Craig Goodall received an EdD for his work on children’s rights, inclusion and autism and Michelle McCoy received hers for a study on the fairness of examination accommodations for children with additional needs.

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Lanyon Building

Research Impact

Disability Research Network - update

  • Lorna Montgomery, Berni Kelly and Gavin Davidson were awarded £100,000 through a Getting our Voices Heard tender process by DRILL (Disability Research on Independent Living & Learning). The team will work with: Action for Real Change, UK; Compass Advocacy Network, Northern Ireland; Praxis Care, Northern Ireland; Mencap Cyrmu, Wales; Richmond Fellowship, Scotland; and Ann Craft Trust, England. The project will explore the approaches used by people with learning disabilities, and their supporting organisations, to influence adult safeguarding policy and procedures.
  • Berni Kelly gave an invited presentation to practitioners, managers and researchers at the Children in Care Research Forum at Trinity College Dublin in March on key findings from her studies of disabled children living in, and leaving, care in Northern Ireland.

  • At the first Africa Network of Care-Leaving Research workshop and conference in Johannesburg in January, Berni Kelly presented the findings of her study on disabled young people leaving care and her model of peer research with care experienced young people. Scroll down to 'Young People Leaving Care in Africa' news item for more information about the event.

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Research Impact

Drugs and Alcohol Network - update

  • Anne Campbell completed the Cannabis and Mental Health research project with colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA, on the correlation between cannabis use disorder and severe and enduring mental health problems.
  • Anne Campbell, David Hayes and Michelle Butler are working on an evaluation of the new family drug courts in Northern Ireland with the Department of Justice and Department of Health (Northern Ireland). The study is looking at outcomes for parents, primary carers and children who participated in the programme over the last 12 months, including family reunification, reduction in parental substance use and partnership working.

  • The DARN team, including research fellow Aisling Mc Laughlin, was awarded a grant by Alcohol Change UK for a rapid review of Alcohol Use Disorders and Mental Health. The review outcome is expected to be in the public domain by July this year. It is part of a series of five rapid reviews on alcohol issues proposed by Alcohol Change UK.

  • Anne Campbell and Kathryn Higgins are presenting their research on Variations and Determinants of Novel Psychoactive Substance Use: Implications for Policy and Practice at the National Institute on Drug Abuse International Forum in San Antonio, USA, in June.

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Behaviour analyst at work

Research Impact

The seamlessCARE Platform

The seamlessCARE platform is the culmination of a three-year Marie Curie/ASSISTID postdoctoral research Fellowship held by Dr Aviva Cohen, hosted in our Centre for Behaviour Analysis (CBA) and supervised by Karola Dillenburger (Director of CBA) and Lizbeth Goodman (University College Dublin). The project addresses the emerging crisis caused by a lack of future planning by ageing carers of loved ones with intellectual disability, learning disability, autism spectrum disorders, acquired brain injury, dementia and a range of other complex needs. It also tackles the inadequacies of paper-based and digital care planning tools used in caring and therapeutic organisations.

The seamlessCARE platform enables care givers to take photographs, record short videos and make notes about the medical, social and communication issues for each care recipient. Parents and guardians can receive an alert about the updates. The platform creates an accessible digital archive that can be viewed by everyone who interacts with that person, ensuring continuity of care while providing privacy, where needed, through password protection. Through a process of inclusive design, Aviva created a user-friendly interface that can be operated by anyone, including those with little technical knowhow. Aviva tested her archive model as an iOS platform and gathered feedback at the design phase from over 200 participants including family carers and health care professionals.

The final version of the seamlessCARE platform will also include a tool that records some of the vocalisations made by non-verbal people and translates these sounds into text that carers can read. In addition, it will include sophisticated data analytics relating to those communications. The Irish government has invested in the seamlessCARE project and Aviva is seeking further investment to extend its use.

For more information see or

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NICILT event participants

Language Teaching and Support

NICILT: Supporting, Providing, Nurturing

Our Northern Ireland Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research (NICILT) is funded by the Department of Education and offers a range of services to teachers and learners of modern languages in schools in Northern Ireland.

In February, NICILT ran Francofest, a unique opportunity for Key Stage 3 pupils of French. The event was attended by pupils from 30 schools who set up and ran their own tourist information offices and trade stands and who were judged by independent Frenchspeaking judges. Francofest encourages young learners to use their marketing and communication skills in a new context. It introduces them to the world of work and higher education and develops their rapport with their peers in a fun and engaging way. The top prize this year went to the team from Wallace High School for their trade stand selling French pâtisseries.

NICILT ran the annual A-Level French, German and Spanish Debating Competitions in February and March and 26 schools took part. These events enhance and support linguistic skills examined at AS and A2 and provide an invaluable public-speaking experience for pupils. Strathearn School took home the NICILT Cup for German and Omagh Academy (pictured with NICILT’s Michelle Devenny, left) surpassed all expectations by taking home the top prizes for both French and Spanish.

In March, NICILT co-ordinated two Teacher Professional Learning events for 50 French and Spanish teachers in collaboration with the Institut Français UK and the Association of Spanish Language Schools in Andalusia. The French workshop focused on teaching French through music and the Spanish day helped develop teachers’ understanding of project-based learning as well as the ‘Escape Room’ and gamification concepts.

For more information visit or the NICILT Facebook page.

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Jennifer Roberts

Staff Profile

Dr Jennifer Roberts

Dr Jennifer Roberts is a qualified teacher and taught in a number of schools in Northern Ireland before beginning her academic career in SSESW. Jennifer is a Lecturer in Education. She is the director of our International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (IPGCE) and the deputy director of the PGCE.

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and ‘make a difference’. After completing my teacher training I worked in a variety of school settings. As a literacy specialist and special educational needs coordinator I developed a keen interest in reading development, especially for groups at risk of educational underachievement and I have carried these interests over to my research career. After completing a Master’s in Education I decided to complete a PhD at Queen’s to further my own academic interests and began looking at ways to tackle educational inequality and underachievement for specific groups of children and how we can measure difference or impact as researchers. I am interested in education, particularly the experiences of young children in primary school and how circumstances can impact their learning. I am interested in generating evidence about what works for children and young people. To this end, I have conducted and am involved in a number of randomised controlled trials of school and individual interventions. In order to further consolidate current knowledge and add to the evidence base, I am also involved in a number of systematic reviews looking at interventions on social and emotional issues as well as school-based issues such as homework.

One of the roles I really enjoy is my involvement in initial teacher education programmes. I am one of the deputy directors of the PGCE programme. This allows me to continue to develop and sustain links with schools in Northern Ireland which helps us to disseminate current research and good practice with our partner schools. As well as working on UK initial teacher education programmes I am passionate about international teacher education, including initial teacher education and continued professional development in an international context. Working internationally allows me to meet people from all over the world and ensures that our work in SSESW is world leading!

I have also been working with the Widening Participation unit at Queen’s and have trained student volunteers for homework clubs and volunteering programmes. This is a really rewarding part of our work and one where we can really see how transformative education can be for children and young people.

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PGCE mini fair

Initial Teacher Education

Careers in Teaching Mini Fair

Our Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students really enjoyed a Careers in Teaching Mini Fair at Queen’s University in early March, where they met representatives from schools and recruitment agencies, both local and national, who are recruiting teachers for the next academic year. A panel of principals was available in the morning for students to quiz for insider knowledge and careers advice. Afterwards, a range of workshops on job searching and application skills was delivered by exhibitors.

The students heard fascinating talks from recent PGCE graduates Jayne McCourt (Down High School, Downpatrick), James Lennon (St Malachy’s High School, Castlewellan) and Michael O’Connell (Longstone Special School, Belfast). The graduates provided helpful insight from their own routes into employment and their career path since graduation. They gave this year’s students some excellent advice on job seeking, interviewing, the benefits of subbing as a means of seeing lots of teaching and management styles and what to expect during the early career stage for newly qualified teachers.

Read more about PGCE study with us at Applications for entry in September 2020 will close in November 2019.

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book cover

New Book

Academics Writing: The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation

A new book by School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work academic Ibrar Bhatt recounts how academic writing is changing in the contemporary university. Through detailed studies of writing in the daily life of academics in different disciplines and institutions, their use of, for example, the tools and technologies of writing and their approach to collaboration with others and engagement with social media, Academics Writing: The Dynamics of Knowledge Creation (ISBN 9780815385905) looks at how change is transforming what it means to be an academic and how, as a society, we produce academic knowledge. The book is key reading for anyone studying or researching writing, academic support and development within education and applied linguistics.

workshop participants

International Conference

Young People Leaving Care in Africa

The School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) partnered with the Department of Social Work at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), the Africa Network of Care-Leaving Researchers and Girls and Boys Town South Africa, a major provider of residential care, to hold the First Africa Care-Leaving Conference at UJ on 18 January. 

The conference followed a three-day workshop with 37 care-leaving scholars from nine countries in Africa (Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe) and three countries from the global North (UK, USA and the Netherlands). The event was funded as a research capacity building event through a UK Department for the Economy - Global Challenge Research Fund Award, with additional support from the National Research Foundation South Africa.

The programme covered research design, data collection, including the use of peer researchers, data analysis, getting published and strategic planning for policy and practice impact. SSESW staff Berni Kelly, Gerry Marshall and John Pinkerton, along with care experienced peer researcher Seana Friel, contributed to the planning, the formal inputs and to chairing various sessions. Central to the workshop was ensuring that an African focus was maintained whilst being inclusive of the learning from other continents.

Ten of the workshop participants presented at the one day conference which was attended by over 200 people, mostly practising social workers and child and youth care workers in the Johannesburg area.

Berni Kelly, Co-Director of our Disability Research Network, contributed a UK perspective on the experiences of care leavers with disabilities. Gerry Marshall followed with a presentation on the use of care experienced young people as inspectors of services. Both presentations prompted considerable interest, discussion and contacts among conference participants.

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Lanyon Building

Erasmus Staff Exchange

Exchange Links with Leuven University

In March, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social (SSESW) academic Paul McCafferty spent a week at Leuven University in Belgium, as part of a new Erasmus bilateral agreement he established. 

During the trip, he was invited to speak at a student conference on children’s and young people’s rights in different national and cultural contexts. The focus of his talk, presented to second year Children and Youth Studies students in a variety of placements across Belgium, was the right of children looked after by the state to participate in decisions about their care.

During the visit, Paul enjoyed making connections with new colleagues from South Africa, Uganda, Brazil, Holland and Poland. Several areas of common interest emerged for possible future collaboration in teaching and research including child protection decision making, children’s participation in decisions about their care and social work student placements.

Paul commented: ‘The Erasmus scheme is an excellent vehicle for enhancing international relationships and for broadening the scope of research and teaching. It helps transcend territorial borders, to discover new approaches to teaching and research. The next stage is to establish student exchange trips, so that students studying at both institutions can begin to understand social work as an international profession. They will also benefit from being exposed to different cultures, political systems and social work practices, increasing their personal capacity to think globally and more diversely.’

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book cover

New Book

The Wiley Handbook of Ethnography of Education

Head of the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, Professor Carl Bagley, has co-edited a definitive reference book on educational ethnography, a research approach that studies education contexts through long-term immersion, engagement and participation of the researcher in the routine daily lives of people and their culture.

The Wiley Handbook of Ethnography of Education (ISBN: 978-1-118-93370-1) brings together leading international scholars and looks at ethnography in contrasting rural and urban contexts, place-based and virtual settings, single and multi-site explorations, as well as foundational and developmental ideas. Its aim is to inform and shape the current field of ethnography and education and to provide a comprehensive reference point for those engaged in academic study in this field.

pupils from different schools

Research Impact

Shared Education Supports International Peacebuilding

Our Centre for Shared Education (CSE), with the Social Change Initiative, hosted an international symposium on Shared Education in December, to reflect on development and implementation of shared education in Northern Ireland and consider the transferability of the model to other divided jurisdictions.

The event at Queen’s brought together academics, policy-makers and practitioners from Northern Ireland and several divided societies where shared education has been introduced or there is interest in piloting the model. These included several Balkan states (the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina), Israel, Cyprus and Lebanon. It considered the curriculum as a vehicle for advancing shared education’s objectives, the effectiveness of contact via shared education in changing attitudes, and the role and mechanisms of collaboration in divided societies.

Participants heard from policy-makers and school principals and provided an overview of their own regional context and the experience/potential of shared education. All involved in the event highlighted the value of sharing experience and insights with colleagues from a range of professional backgrounds and nationalities.

In January, CSE colleagues led a seminar on shared education in Pristina, Kosovo, where they are supporting peacebuilding by promoting collaboration between schools in a divided education system. The seminar included teachers from the Municipality of Kamenica, where shared education will be piloted, representatives from the British Council, the British Embassy and the Rochester Institute of Technology (Kosovo), colleagues from the Queen’s University Centre for Identity and Intergroup Relations and key stakeholders from policy and practitioner bodies in Northern Ireland. The symposium built on work that has been ongoing between Queen’s and the Balkans since 2009 to connect networks of colleagues from different sectors and to share learning from the Northern Ireland experience of developing and delivering shared education.

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Front of SSESW building at 69 University Street

making a difference

Connecting Local and Global Expertise

In addition to our wide ranging seminar series (see, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work (SSESW) colleagues lead important network activities in their respective fields, contributing to improving practice in local and global arenas. Their work with partners across many professions informs our activities at national and international levels and the recognition of our colleagues’ expertise reflects the importance and influence of that collaboration. The following are examples of just a few instances over recent months:

  • Eisenhower Fellowships has included Katy Hayward in its selection of 14 highly accomplished leaders invited to participate in its 2019 Island of Ireland Program, a prestigious international leadership programme. The named recipients work in fields such as diplomacy, law, economics, religious affairs, environmental conservation and academia. The programme will see Katy travel across the United States exchanging knowledge and ideas with other leading figures before applying her new expertise to a project with real-world impact in a Northern Ireland setting.

  • Anne Campbell was appointed co–chair of the Recovery Committee for the UK Government Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs which advises the government on supporting people to recover from dependence on drugs and alcohol and how best to prevent drug and alcohol misuse and its associated harm. Anne’s new Recovery Committee role recognises her expertise in aspects of drug and alcohol recovery. She is chair of the Dual Diagnosis Expert Research and Education Group (Northern Ireland) and won the highly prestigious Lifetime Drug and Alcohol Fellowship Application to NIDA (USA, January to June 2017).

  • Michael Duffy was invited to become a founding member of the newly formed UK Trauma Council, a crossdisciplinary leadership group tasked with supporting and guiding the creation, development and dissemination of trauma resources, guidance, policy and training. It supports collaboration across a broad interdisciplinary group of experts, to ensure children and young people receive help following trauma. Like Michael Duffy, UK Trauma Council members are recognised experts in their respective fields and are drawn from across the four nations of the UK.

  • Joe Duffy is on a US-UK Fulbright Scholarship study visit to the USA this academic year. In addition to working with universities and organisations in Nashville and New York, Joe shared with the United States Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) his research findings on the benefits of directly involving people with lived experience in the teaching of social work students. Joe’s input to the CSWE helps inform their future planning and development for social work education in the USA.

Read more about colleagues’ research and teaching at

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 cover of newsletter

Winter 2019/20: PDF (0.6 MB)

  • Inclusive Education in Northern Ireland
  • Student Profile: Brenda Brady
  • Children’s Rights in New Zealand
  • Learning Together at Hydebank Wood College
  • Political Economies and Consequences of School Exclusion
  • Developing the Social Work Curriculum in the USA
  • Higher Education and Social Justice
  • Staff Profiles: Danielle Turney and Jonathan Heaney
 Summer 2019 newsletter cover

Summer 2019: PDF (0.6MB)

  • The Lundy Model of Child Participation
  • Student Profile: Angela Rogan
  • What Works Summit – Early Years
  • Social Policy Students at the Duncairn
  • International Postgraduate Certificate in Education
  • Athena SWAN at SSESW
  • Young People Leaving Care in Africa
  • Staff Profiles: Jennifer Roberts and Gavin Davidson


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